Which Socialite Are You?

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Are you an Intentional Socialite or an Incidental Socialite?*

A what or a what? I’ve never heard of those terms.

Of course not. I just made them up.

Well then how can I answer the question if I don’t know what they are? Maybe if you explained them first?

Oh. I guess you’re right. Okay.

An Intentional Socialite is one who actively pursues social interactions with others. They’re the ones who hold dinners, organise nights out or coffee catch ups or who are only interested in going to see a movie if it’s with a group of friends.

Makes sense. And an Incidental Socialite?

An Incidental Socialite experiences social contact in the context of another activity. A chat over coffee after church or community singing, catching up during a break in a theatre rehearsal or art class, the brief “How’s it going?” exchanges after a meeting or waiting to pick up kids in the school playground, even purely social events as long as they’re predictable like Friday night drinks after work or a weekly coffee date at the same cafe.

I think I understand.

Good. So which one are you?

I need to think about it. I’ll let you know in the Comments.

Okay.

So which one are you, then?

Me? Oh, definitely an Incidental Socialite. Well, except for a brief period at the end of my 30s when I actively pursued social contact with the support of a psychologist in a challenging time of my life.

What made you stop?

Psychologists are expensive.

Ha ha. Couldn’t you do it without the psychologist?

As a shy introvert? No. Not for long, anyway.

Did it concern you?

Not really. That’s the beauty of Incidental Social Contact, you don’t notice that you don’t really have a social life.

So what made you come up with this concept?

Too much long distance running by myself. Nowhere to go but inside my own head.

Very funny. But there must have been some reason the thoughts were there.

Hm. Yeah, there was.

Well?

Well, you know how I said I wasn’t concerned about not having intentional social contact?

Yes.

Lately I have been.

Been what? Concerned?

Yes.

Why?

Well, that was the question, wasn’t it? Why? Why now after all these years?

And?

And I realised I was noticing a lack of social contact with people because almost all of my incidental social opportunities have disappeared.

I see. How did that happen?

Hard to say. Life changes, you know? Some things ended by choice. Some not. Even with work, I’ve gone back to casual teaching and work offers have been thin on the ground so even brief staffroom chats over lunch aren’t happening.

So what are you going to do? As an Incidental Socialite?

Get used to my own company?

Not funny. Seriously, what are you going to do?

Well, I’ve got you, haven’t I? I do enjoy these little chats of ours in the Comments Bar & Grill. What are you drinking? My shout.

Thanks, I’m flattered and I’ll post my order in the Comments. But don’t you think flesh and blood socialising might also be a good idea?

Well, I have started going to group classes at the gym.

I guess that’s a start. Although, how do you hold a conversation while you’re bouncing around and sweating profusely?

It can be done. After all, I came up with this whole Intentional/Incidental social concept while I was running thirty kilometres, didn’t I?

Thirty kilometres?? You ran thirty kilometres? Okay, I think you may have more problems than I thought.

Very funny. I’ve finished my drink. It’s your shout.

Uh, right. What are you having?

Gin. And as you’re buying, make it a double.

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*My fingers kept wanting to type “Socialist” but that’s a whole other discussion.

57 thoughts on “Which Socialite Are You?

  1. Incidental Socialite here. Without work, Mosaics and my weekly walking group, I really only have my own company and that of my immediate family. I like the idea of being an intentional socialite until I have to follow through. Crazy huh ?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh dear. This is another one of those situations where I feel like I don’t fit neatly into any of the categories. Just for once I’d like to feel that I’m not an odd mixture of everything. I have a small core of good friends that I’m very intentional in meeting with regularly … ok, somewhat every once in a while.

    At the same time, I easily slip into my own quiet world where my only interaction is with the clerk at the grocery store. Even then I will usually avoid eye contact.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Okay, let me see if I can help you out here. The concept of Intentional/Incidental Socialite is not about quantity, it’s about manner of socialising. I’m not saying Intentional Socialites spend their days hosting dinners. What I am saying is if the manner in which you do socialise (when you do) is due to an initiation by yourself then you’re an Intentional Socialite. If it’s because you kind of have to socialise with others because it comes with the territory of something else you’re doing, you’re an Incidental Socialite.
      I was about to say I can’t remember the last time I initiated social contact but then I remembered I did a couple of weeks ago but I was having a bad day and to be honest, it was actually my friend’s 2-year-old I really wanted to hang out with. They weren’t available. Did I keep trying until I found a friend who was available? No. I went to the movies instead. By myself. I’d used up every bit of Intentional Socialite I possessed in one message.
      I’m not saying Incidental Socialites are anti-social, just that they don’t initiate social contact. They’ll happily go out for dinner or coffee with friends as long as someone else has organised it. Do you organise catch ups with your friends or do you always just tag along to something one of your other friends has organised? The former is Intentional, the latter Incidental.
      Does that help at all?

      Like

  3. I am an Incidental Socialite, 100% completely.
    I am an Intentional Socialist tho 😉

    I’ve actually thought a lot about this, tho, the social aspect. I may write about it and pingback to you sometime?
    (cause what with a smaller social life, I have time to look at things…)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Everything with the word ‘social’ has my blessing. Mind you, within the world of conservatives or liberals one has to be careful not to be branded a communist. It’s odd how the word socialism has lost its way.
    I like to be more social but as soon as I am within a group of people I like to be on my own again. They say; ‘everyone needs a man’. That’s true, I have myself.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Like you, incidental socialite. Don’t actively seek out socialising or a day or night out on town unless I am really bored. I really do like my alone time when I can get it, especially when I can get the house to myself. Rather than throw a party and have people over and catch up with them this way, I’d rather have a quiet lie around the house with a good book or videos lined up on YouTube.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You sound just like me, Mabel. 😊 But it was interesting to discover that when my incidental social opportunities were stripped away I actually did miss hanging out with people away from home. Small doses of socialising I like. Infinitesimal levels not so much.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hard left incidental, c’est moi. With a dash of hermit for emphasis.

    So much so, that when I am out in the world, and I see people involved in group things, I can’t help thinking – huh, so that’s a thing, is it? How did that come to be?

    No kids, no church, no school, and no group affiliations – my sports and hobbies are those that are, for me, best conducted solo.

    And yet, I firmly believe that grassroots change in our world is via intentional social gathering. It’s a definite conflict.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I can see the conflict for you, Maggie. To be sure, solo activities are by far the easiest. But, as I think you’ve indicated, I also can’t help wondering if people spend too much time in their personal bubble (the internet makes that so easy) and forget that humanity is made of wildly differing views of life and it’s only by spending in person time with a range of people that we learn to appreciate differences. It’s definitely a conflict. Thanks, Maggie.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Incidental Socialite here. Since moving away from my best friend with whom I socialised I have not made any other close friends to hang out with. And that was 16 years ago! Since I stopped working in 2011 really narrowed down the opportunities to incidentally socialise. I have considered a neighbourly get together around Christmas time, but chickened out, though I did attend one a couple of years ago. Once upon a time you might have considered me to be the opposite, but those times are long gone. Another world. Another life. I’m not against socialising, but you have to know/meet people first. And as a total non-joiner that’s going to be difficult.
    I do like what Maggie says.
    And make mine a double G&T too 😀

    Liked by 3 people

    • If you’re a non-joiner the whole social thing is definitely a challenge even if you’ve grown up in the area. But to build a social life in a new place? Especially if you don’t have the easy fall back onto work? Yikes.
      Maggie’s comment was spot on.
      G&T coming up! Do you have a favourite gin? I am currently obsessed with Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz Gin.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeh. I think I am destined to be a recluse. But that’s OK. I am happy with my own company and the OH is around to have a natter with. Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz Gin sounds heavenly! We are trying out different gins, currently on a Seville Orange one we bought at Christmas! Bombay Sapphire is our ‘goto’ gin.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I think once my life is more my own, I won’t mind my own company so much (with the OH for company) but while I’ve still got kids at home and all that entails, time out of the house and particularly with female company (sadly lacking at home) will remain a necessity.

          Gin has really taken off here with new distilleries opening all over the place. I couldn’t believe how many gins were in the duty free shop at Melbourne airport on my way back from Nepal. I bought a London blue gin and one from the Isle of Islay. The shiraz gin is bloody marvellous. 🙂 It’s from the Yarra Valley on the outskirts of Melbourne and they sell out months before the new batch is released.

          Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m an Incidental Socialite, too…and I found your blog by way of Ally’s blog at Spectacled Bean. I’m a fan of G&T (preferably Tanqueray &Tonic or Tanqueray & Ting). I’m glad to have found my way over here to see what’s happening. I have a silly question, now that I’m here. I went to click your follow button, and it prompts me for an email or my WP login. I’ve logged in already, that’s how I found your blog by the Reader on WP, so I’m curious as to why does your follow button prompted me to login? Is that normal? I guess I’m not as shy as I thought I was? But then, I tried for the third time, it was the charm, I was able to click follow without an additional login. Anyhoo…I enjoyed reading your post! Happy Saturday!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oops. Didn’t mean to take so long to reply. This one slipped through. Thanks for coming over from Ally’s. Always happy to meet a fellow Incidental Socialist and G&T drinker. 😊 I think I’ve got a Tanqueray & Tonic ready-made in the fridge. Just let me get it for you.
      I’ve got no answer for your following problems, I’m afraid, but thanks for persisting.

      Liked by 1 person

      • No worries – I’m always thirsty, so thank you, the toast of T&T is very refreshing. I’ll be back again to see what’s being served – I don’t give up too easily, but I can be quite random in my visits places! I appreciate you replying, and letting me know I wasn’t lost in a crowd for too long! xx

        Liked by 1 person

  9. My brain kept reading Socialist. And I’m definitely in the Intentional camp on that one.

    But (and thank you for giving me such a cool descriptive dichotomy — or possibly continuum) I am absolutely an incidental socialite, though only fairly recently a comfortable one. I think I spent way too many years believing I had to be more sociable than I naturally feel and was quite miserable for a lot of the time. I really worked at it when the boy-child was younger, organising and hosting endless multi-family get togethers and sleepovers so my only child would have the constant company he seemed to need.

    I think I’m still recovering.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh boy, sounds like hell. I was lucky I had three so I only had to do the social thing on rare occasions (birthdays mostly). Sometimes I felt bad that I didn’t do more to facilitate their social lives.

      I deliberately made a point about Socialists because I thought people might read that instead of Socialite. 😄

      Liked by 1 person

      • I do wonder now if my social-secretary thing was really necessary, or if he’d have managed just as well without me. Not when he was really little I guess. And that was actually the time I found the hardest.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh boy, I wish we didn’t live half a world apart. This is a time when I wish there were actual Star Trek transporters so I could come over there and make you do social stuff…coffee, movies, girls’ night out, etc.

    I have to admit that I can be both an intentional and incidental socialite. It’s hard for me to conclude I’m strictly one or the other, so I’ll call myself and In-Between Socialite.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m definitely an incidental socialite. I used to have to be an intentional socialite and I didn’t enjoy it at all. Much happier not doing the socializing thing on purpose. It’s kind of the planner versus pantser dichotomy applied to peopling.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Trying to be an Intentional Socialite when it doesn’t come naturally is exhausting. I also have trouble reading the social cues and understanding if murmurings about getting together are real or people just being polite. If it’s the latter, it ends up being embarrassing if you pursue it. These days I find it safer to let the social come to me.
      I’m glad you’re happier in your incidental social life.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I’ve gone in every social direction in this crazy life but for now I’m full blown Incidental socialite. At one time I was the kind or organizing but for now and probably for good I enjoy the causal contact. The ‘accidental’ walk past the neighbor when he’s doing yard work, knowing full well he’ll stop for a time to catch up.

    Love the conversation, by the way. Excellent!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The conversation is always my favourite part of blogging. Thanks for contributing. It’s interesting that you’ve shifted away from intentional social interaction and feeling happy to just let it occur incidentally.

      Like

  13. I’m definitely an incidental socialite, and weirdly, I knew exactly what you meant before you defined it! Sometimes, I’m even a “non” socialite, in which I don’t want even any incidental social interactions. Sometimes I just like being in my writing corner left alone! Yes, a functioning introvert, that’s the term I use. 🙂

    Like

  14. Hmm, when I was tested for introversion/extraversion I was told I was an ambivert… this is the same. I am a semi-intentional/semi-incidental socialite. I get along fine just letting interactions happen, but I set them up if I am bothered about not seeing particular people.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Interesting how most of the commenters here have retreated to Incidental over time. I must have missed the memo as I went the other way. The organizing of activities seems to have been thrust upon me, and people do come, (so surprising), although I am a nervous wreck thinking they won’t be at all interested, days beforehand. I wonder how did this incidental socialite got to be an intentional one? And quite envious of your post posing such an existential dilemma.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s so interesting that you went the other way. I admire your persistence given it sounds like being an Intentional Socialite doesn’t exactly come easily. I’d have given it away (if I ever started which is unlikely).

      Like

  16. I enjoyed this self interview very much Heather. You are hilarious. But on a more serious note I used to be the one organizing outings and parties but frankly that was a lot of work. Now retired though, the incidental socializing is far less. I go back and forth between wanting more interaction and wanting quiet. I’m a puzzle.

    Liked by 1 person

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